Monday, September 16, 2019

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Article Index

II. Naming Human Rights Racism

In the twenty-first century, the word racism is well-known and is used throughout the world. Those who have suffered its pernicious harm understand what it is, as the South African Representative recently affirmed in the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Contemporary Standards proceedings. Despite its common usage, the meaning of racism in international law remains elusive. Racism should be named, defined, and recognized as a violation of human rights worthy of international legal protection. It is time for the international legal community to take up this challenge. This section aims to build the foundations for doing so by examining how to define, understand, and conceptualize racism as a violation of international human rights. I first analyze current definitions of racism before deepening current understandings of what racism is through a discussion of research from neuroscience about racial bias in the brain. Finally, I examine ways to frame racism in human rights law.

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Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law

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